Everybody wants to find a car that best fits their lifestyle and will complement and support their activities well. However, there might be one group in particular that just can’t afford to choose the wrong car: road trippers. At least those who use their car for city driving or commuting to work know that they’ll never be stuck in their vehicle for too long. When you’re taking off for a multi-day or even multi-week road trip, that car becomes your second home; any element of it that is uncomfortable or inconvenient becomes amplified due to the length of the trip. Today, we’re looking at the 2022 Buick Enclave vs 2022 Dodge Durango in our search for the perfect road trip vehicle.
When looking for a car that’s ready for road trip life, a couple of things come to mind. Driver comfort is of the utmost importance because the driver is responsible for getting the whole group from point A to point B—no matter how great the distance in between is. If the driver isn’t happy, everybody suffers.
Of course, passengers also need to be comfortable. Tensions can run high quickly on a road trip if backseat passengers feel they drew the short straw with their seating location (middle rear seats, I’m looking at you). A great road trip car is one in which every seat feels like “the good seat” and a driver has everything they need to transport the group safely and comfortably to the final destination. Let’s see how the latest Buick Enclave and Dodge Durango hold up in these areas.
Backseat Passenger Comfort
It’s always great to see that the great minds behind a vehicle thought about how people live today. The real-life, up-to-date habits and preferences of passengers and drivers should always be top-of-mind for vehicle designers. The 2022 Buick Enclave did not disappoint in this area.
With its 120-volt, three-prong, household plug-in in the backseat—in addition to two USB chargers, the Enclave delivers excellent passenger comfort. The fact that these features are placed in the back seat so that passengers don’t need to reach upfront, disturbing a driver, is already a bonus. Then, add that you have the choice between a three-prong plug-in or USB ports and Buick seems to have thought of everything. Being able to do work on a laptop, read on an iPad, play a video game console, or listen to an audiobook on a handheld device are activities passengers have come to expect today. Running out of battery on the road means a backseat of passengers becomes restless and unhappy, fast. That shouldn’t be an issue in the 2022 Enclave.
The 2022 Dodge Durango also made efforts to ensure backseat passengers don’t feel resentful of their seating arrangements. The second and third rows on the R/T Plus have their own mini consoles and the second row has its own cup holders. Those additional cup holders are a must-have on a long road trip, when tasty snacks and refreshing beverages are just as important as a full tank of gas. The third row might, unfortunately, be a bit envious that they don’t also get cup holders. They’ll have to share with the second row.
There is one more thing about the 2022 Buick Enclave that really stood out and made this a road trip pick: backseat climate controls. Back passengers don’t have to be subject to the temperature choices of the driver and front-seat passenger. They have their own rear controls, giving them the option to create their own perfect climate. Nobody wants to suffer through feeling too hot or too cold for an entire road trip, after all. It’s also worth noting that the 2022 Enclave has a generous amount of leg and headroom for second-row passengers, making it an excellent choice for those with tall friends and family members.
Front Seat Passenger Comfort
The front seat passenger is the co-pilot; they keep the driver entertained; they help them with directions. They are a critical part of the road trip, so it’s essential that they are comfortable. On the 2022 Dodge Durango R/T Plus, the passenger will enjoy the power-controlled sunroof along with the driver, in addition to the full leather armrest and ventilated Napa leather seat. However, we don’t feel that too many special additions were made to the front passenger seat of the Durango to make it stand out.
The 2022 Buick Enclave really treats the front seat passenger like royalty, as they will enjoy available power control lumbar support and an available massage feature. It’s hard to beat having a seat with massage capabilities as a front-seat passenger. This alone makes the 2022 Buick Enclave the winner in terms of front-seat passenger comfort for us.
Driver Comfort and Convenience
Last but certainly not least is driver comfort. The driver on a road trip is the captain of the journey. They absolutely must have everything they need at their fingertips to navigate the road, keep passengers content, and keep themselves comfortable. Let’s review how these two cars compare in keeping the captain happy.
The 2022 Dodge Durango RT/Plus will have the option for navigation details to show up on the cluster, reducing the need to crane one’s head to look at directions. The driver will also enjoy a ventilated Napa leather seat to keep them cool when it’s hot out.
The 2022 Buick Enclave boasts a leather-wrapped steering wheel. When cold temperatures make hands stiff, that can make long drives especially difficult, so I personally love this feature. The steering wheel has another thoughtful innovation: a large bottom center opening for those who like to position one hand there when driving. This increases leg room and reduces hand discomfort on long stretches of road.
Going on a road trip means packing a lot of stuff. Between a cooler full of snacks, everybody’s luggage, gear for activities, and more, the trunk gets full, fast. A car simply isn’t a great road trip vehicle without ample storage space.
Both the 2022 Buick Enclave and the 2022 Dodge Durango offer a generous amount of storage space. The Dodge Durango has a backseat with a 50/50 split fold, making it easy to extend storage space when necessary. The Buick Enclave also has a large trunk and a third row that folds entirely flat.
One thing that makes the Buick rise above Dodge here is the power control of the backseat, which lets you fold it down at the push of a button. Gone can be the days of struggling to manually fold back seats down, only to manually set them upright again after your journey. Plus, the Enclave has a more generous cabin, boasting up to 97.4 cu.ft. of cargo space—compared to the Durango’s 85.1. The difference of over 12 cu.ft. is enormous, and one would be happy to have it.
The Final Word
All in all, both the 2022 Buick Enclave and the 2022 Dodge Durango are impressive vehicles that are ready for road trip life. It’s clear that the manufacturers of these cars gave plenty of thought to the real experiences of drivers and passengers on long car rides. Each one is equipped with thoughtful, convenient, and intuitive features that solve many of the issues associated with long days buckled up.
I did feel that the 2022 Buick Enclave has some standout features that make it the winner here. It’s hard to beat that massage feature found in both the driver and front passenger seats. That is especially useful for reducing back pain—a common side-effect of driving for long stretches of time. The three-prong and USB plugs in the second row are particularly nice touches that enable passengers to enjoy their favorite devices during road trips.